My daughter married at 23 and became a mum this year at 25.
As a grandparent I can take the “spoiling a child” up to a whole new level.
Parents’ job: Teach manners, self-control and self-discipline.
My job: What does B.A.T. want today?
John Low told me “You now have the most enviable task of completely spoiling the little tike and when he is crying, hand him back to his parents.”
This research scientist, an ardent follower of my blog, is married but have no children yet, but he was spot on when he said that to me.
Nothing can replace the joy of bringing up my three children who are now 26, 19 and 17 but the joyful memories are always interspersed with memories also of crying fits, vomit and smelly diapers.
Also my kids grew up when I was traversing the world making a living and the frantic attempts at parenting took me away from moments when I could just sit back and enjoy the joys of their childhood.
All too soon, those moments were gone.
Kids grow up.
They have their own lives.
In any case, before you know it, crying fits, vomit and smelly diapers soon became things of the past.
With B.A.T. there is none of that. We visit, we spoil the little fella, we enjoy his smiles and his cooing, then we go home.
Though far from being the perfect father, I think I have been a reasonably decent enough father. To be a grandfather is to be rewarded with a second chance to reflect on the sacred work of being a father.
I thought I love my own kids with my whole heart but until B.A.T. showed up, I didn’t know I still have room in my heart for love.
When I traveled with Dr Andrew Goh to Vietnam a couple of years ago, I noticed that he had photos of his grandson with him and was constantly looking at them. I said to myself “Wow this guy must really love his grandkid” and thought nothing more of it. Then when my friend Dr Patrick Kee dedicated his second book to his grandson, I thought “Here’s another old fogey who’s enamored with his grandchild” but only now do I begin to understand what it is to be a grandfather and to love your grandchild so much.
Throughout the day Yin and I would constantly check our daughter’s tweets to see if she has posted any new pictures of our grandson, and we look at the pictures of B.A.T. every night before we go to bed.
Most days B.A.T. is the first person we think of when we wake up in the morning.
Now I think I’m beginning to understand the Welsh proverb “Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.”